Interview With Gary Gach: Question One

Miriam’s Well will be interviewing Gary Gach on haiku and more during the end of December. Expect the answers to five questions as well as some poetry!


1 How does your writing of haiku connect to your Buddhist practice?

They are as interconnected as a dragon and a cloud. Without creativity, my za-zen (sitting zen) could be likened to polishing a brick hoping it will eventually become a mirror. Just because a frog sits all day doesn’t necessarily mean it will realize Buddhahood. Haiku is a model of zen creativity applicable to zen practice itself.

Haiku is also a continual process, not an on-again / off-again intermittency. Haiku are everyday: no day lacks ample haiku (singular and plural). Writing haiku is my formal engagement with haiku; being aware of haiku throughout the day, is my informal engagement. What’s called for is my continually being present to haiku (and showing up, when I’m present). So too with my Buddhist practice.

I don’t need to compose or make haiku up: they’re already there; so too with what I experience in mindful awareness. There’s no abstract meditative state to strive for or construct.

As with these examples – whatever I might learn from haiku, I can also see if I can apply it by extension to other aspects of my Buddhist practice. And vice-versa. Haiku is Buddhism put into practice; Buddhism is practical understanding which each haiku realizes. In a word, both being empty, haiku practice and zen practice can inform each other perfectly. Zen, my self, and life are not three separate things.


Gary Gach hopes to write a couple really great haiku. Meanwhile, he’s published 9 books, including an anthology, What Book!? – Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism; and, most recently, PAUSE, BREATHE, SMILE – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation Is Not Enough. He hosts a free weekly Zen mindfulness group in San Francisco, at Aquatic Park, where he also swims in the Bay. For more info:

up all night
city tree & me​

​fall full moon

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

5 thoughts on “Interview With Gary Gach: Question One

  1. I too am pleased about this series of interviews. As per your comment Miriam, I would be more than happy to send a few haiku; perhaps you can advise me of the best way to do that.

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